Dream City Film Club – in session for John Peel – February 7, 1999 – John Peel – BBC Radio 1 –
A session from one of the shorter lived bands of the 90s. Dream City Film Club have been described as having a sound strewn all over the place as well as being one of Britain’s most underrated bands of the 90s.
What ever it was, they didn’t last all that long, as band lifespans go (1995-1999). But recent reassessments have drawn those conclusions that DCFC got short-changed in the recognition department and that they were severely underrated.
Their sound was difficult to categorize in that it encompassed tortured lovelorn balladry, avant-garde flourishes, Tin Pan Alley, straightforward rock and gospel yearnings in both lyrics and subject matter. Ultimately, Dream City Film Club failed to find enough of an audience to sustain them.
Vocalist Michael J. Sheehy had been working as a solo singer/songwriter for several years when he met Alex Vald and Laurence Ash, who quickly began writing songs with Sheehy. Upon the demise of another local group, Breed, bassist Andrew Park joined. The band’s name came from a news story Sheehy had seen about an arsonist who had burned down a members-only porno theatre. They played their first gig as Dream City Film Club on 31 July 1995.
They released a single, “Crawl” for the underground fanzine, the Organ in early 1996. Soon after, they were contacted by Beggar’s Banquet and recorded their eponymous debut album in late 1996, later releasing it on 26 May 1997.
According to Sheehy, the English press reaction to the first single, “Perfect Piece of Trash”, was almost unanimous in its derision. After parting with Vald, DCFC continued on as a three piece, recording its second and final album, In the Cold Light of Morning featuring a more expansive sound best realized on the epic “God Will Punish the Pervert Preacher”.
The group disbanded in 1999. Michael J. Sheehy subsequently recorded three solo albums for Beggar’s Banquet and two for Glitterhouse, and has fronted Saint Silas Intercession with his brother Patrick. During the early 2000s, Alex Vald worked as half of experimental pop band Datapuddle. In 2015, Sheehy and Vald reunited as the pop-noir duo United Sound of Joy.
In a retrospective biography of the group, AllMusic called them “one of England’s most underrated bands of the 1990s.”
For a sample, in case you missed them the first time around or you were there but forgot, here is the second of two sessions done for John Peel at BBC Radio 1.
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